The Chico Seed Orchard is located on 209 acres, in Chico, CA. Development started in 1904 when the site was assigned to the Agricultural Research Service for the purpose of plant breeding research and plant introduction from all over the world.
The primary function at the CSO is to develop and provide high quality, source identified seed adapted to current and future planting environments to enhance reforestation success and promote gene conservation in Region 5 while focusing on the production of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir seed. The seed produced not only benefits ecological restoration efforts, it also provides for wildfire recovery, watershed restoration, riparian habitat for threatened and endangered species, Native American culture values, recreation areas, and forest health including research and disease resistance.
The secondary function is to provide for recreation, public service and education. Recreational activities include taking a stroll down a self-guided mile long paved accessible nature trail, dog walking (leash laws apply), wildlife and bird watching, and picnicking at one of seven established sites. The site contains one restroom and trash services but does not provide drinking water for the public. The main gate on site is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except on holidays. The pedestrian gate is open in the summer seven days a week, except on holidays, from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. and from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. in the winter. Visitors are not allowed on the property after dark.